"A fun shooter that can get a little repetitive."

Dead to Rights is a newly released 3rd person shooter from Namco that introduces a few new ideas and concepts that really make this title a good “pick up and play” title. Can be quite easy at times and can sometimes (or most of the time) be painfully hard.

Storyline: 7/10
It’s pretty much your average murder mystery with some twists along the way. Some predictable, some not so predictable. You take up the role of the Jack Slate (along with his trusty canine pal Shadow), a cop thirsty for avenging his father’s murder. I don’t want to give away anything, but the plot keeps you playing to find out more.

Graphics: 8/10
The graphics are done quite well, but we’ve come to expect more for the Xbox. Character models are mediocre, and character animations are smooth throughout most of the game, especially when Jack is firing. On some of the cutscences, the mouths don’t move when they talk, and I didn’t expect that. Throughout the entire game, I didn’t notice a single frame rate dip, even with 10+ baddies on screen all firing assault rifles. The FMVs between levels are fun to watch and the graphics really shine.

Sound: 8/10
The air is filled with hot lead and if you close your eyes and turn up the volume, you feel as if you were really there. Typical bullet sounds, but each gun has a nice original sound to it. Neck cracking sounds are especially eerie, and so is the vicious growl of Shadow when he mauls a baddie. Some sounds can get repetitive, like when a boss does the same grunting noise every single time he attacks. The voice-overs in this game are fantastic. The story is told well by some fine voice actors.

Music: 6/10
The music in this game is usually very quiet “atmosphere” music. Usually when an enemy is in the room or you get in an especially intense situation the music climaxes, and that adds to the movie like atmosphere of the game. Some music gets a little bit repetitive, but the music is not a big factor in this game.

Gameplay: 9/10
Gameplay is where Dead to Rights really shines. When you first play, controls are a bit awkward. But give the game 10 minutes and thugs will be dropping like flies. The game offers a lock on system that works well most of the time. Right Trigger locks on to an enemy and “A” fires the weapon. If you are out of range the targeting recticle turns green. When you’re in range, it’s yellow. For up close and critical damage, it’s red. Each weapon has different range, so a sniper rifle does damage as far as the eye can see, and shotgun does critical damage only within 5 feet. This is a strong point of the game, but also a weak one. You’ll find yourself in a room with 8 enemies all firing at you and you jump out and try to lock on to something. Sometimes you’ll end up targeting the enemy 50 feet away, instead of the thug with a shotgun 2 feet from your head. This is the only reason I rated gameplay a 9 instead of 10.What I do enjoy about this game is that it offers many different moves and maneuvers to get out of a sticky situation. If you have no weapon, you can perform different disarms, or send Shadow to go maul the thug and fetch his weapon. If you find a large amount of baddies in a room, you can grab a nearby explosive canister, throw it at them, and shoot it out of the air, creating an explosion. Nifty huh? Or you can grab a nearby enemy and use him as a human shield to take out the rest of the enemies. There’s a slow motion dive (like Max Payne) and peeking around a corner to shoot (like Metal Gear Solid 2) and of course some hand to hand combo’s that will be necessary to master. Just playing through a level is like watching a movie. Just watch out, this game can get tough at times. Some bosses have insane amounts of health and attack damage. Only hardcore gamers dare tread further. Namco also left a few mini games throughout the game that include bomb disarming, an arcade like “light gun” type game, weight lifting, arm wrestling, and even a rhythm “stripping” mini game.

Replay Value: 6/10
First of all, this game is pretty long the first time around. Once you get a hang of it and learn the little secrets, this game is a breeze the second time around. It is definitely worth playing twice, but a 3rd time doesn’t sound too appealing. To add to the replay just a little bit, you can try to unlock all the different disarms. Basically, this game doesn’t have a whole lot of replay value. But the gameplay is so great; you will find yourself addicted for a while.

Storyline: 7/10
Graphics: 8/10
Sound: 8/10
Music: 6/10
Gameplay: 9/10
Replay Value: 6/10
Overall Rating: 7/10

Closing comments:
Dead to rights offers a lot of good gameplay and ideas. But another fault of this game is that it drags on a bit sometimes. You’ll find yourself begging for the level to end after 40 minutes of identical rooms and bad guys all with the same weapon. For instance, early in the game you are forced to use your fists for a while. No, make that an eternity. The period last so long that by the time it’s done, you’ll forget how to use a gun. Some baddies you’ll see so many times throughout the game. You’ll groan when you see them over and over and over. Some rooms are filled with 30 enemies, and you might take out 25 and then you die. When you finally beat that room, you’ll move on to another room that’s identical with the exact same baddies in the exact same spot. To sum it up, this is an awesome game that can get repetitive.

Rent or Buy? I would definitely give this game a rent before buying it.


Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 09/27/02, Updated 09/27/02


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